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To make sense of the world, humans and animals need to combine information from multiple sources. This is usually done according to how reliable each piece of information is. For example, to know when to cross the street, we usually rely more on what we see than what we hear – but this can change on a foggy day.

“In such situations with the blind spot, the brain ‘fills in’ the missing information from its surroundings, resulting in no apparent difference in what we see,” says senior author Professor Peter König, from the University of Osnabrück’s Institute of Cognitive Science. “While this fill-in is normally accurate enough, it is mostly unreliable because no actual information from the real world ever reaches the brain.

Fake hand, real self, the Cosmos...

Scientists wanted to find out if we typically handle this filled-in information differently to real, direct sensory information, or whether we treat it as equal.

To do this, König and his team asked study participants to choose between two striped visual images, both of which were displayed to them using shutter glasses. Each image was displayed either partially inside or completely outside the visual blind spot. Both were perceived as identical and ‘continuous’ due to the filling-in effect, and participants were asked to select the image they thought represented the real, continuous stimulus.

Stable mind. Unstable mind. Learning. Being.

It seemed that people treat ‘inferred’ visual objects generated by the brain as more reliable than external images from the real world. (1)

What is real is just a representation in our mind.

And the more “pure” the representation, the more “real” it feels.

We see what we want. And the more interference we get from our senses, the more fake the world seems to be. That should not make us doubt the validity of our mind, but the validity of our senses instead. If their input does not imply anything regarding the validity of our perception (or what is more, if their input makes our perception be less related to “reality”) then perhaps our senses could be not related to the… validity of our perception.

Cannabis, pain, perception

This is the obvious and simplest conclusion of them all. And we should not be afraid of any conclusion, no matter how much it opposes our beliefs.

Look out for the fake.

It does not carry any notion of ‘reality’ and, thus, is more pure. (and thus, more real)

Look out for the lies.

That is where veracity is hidden…